Title: Field of Flowers
Disclaimer: Clones on a loan without permission. Please don't sue. I barely have enough money to feed my rats.
Summary: With Booth dead, Brennan is left with only her daughter and dreams about a field of flowers…
Author's Note: This story was written a long time ago for the Cullen's Bullpen Challenge. Not sure what month it was, exactly, but I didn't get it finished and it has been rotting away on my computer for a long time until the other day when I was aimlessly browsing the numerous documents that I have on this laptop. So, with my writer's block momentarily avoided, I decided to polish the story. This is a much better—in my humble and very biased opinion—version, although completely unedited. Apologies go out to Ava. Sorry I didn't send this one to you. It took as much motivation as I could muster to even get it done and put on the internet.
Author's Note (part 2): Apologies also go out to my very faithful and very patient readers. Crap happens and I don't handle it too well. Instead of getting my sorry butt moving to the keyboard to work on the stories that are WAY overdue I instead sit and stare at the wall, mentally decapitating B (I refuse to put his name anywhere here for fear that it might taint the whole website) and wishing that I were a strong enough person to pull myself away from people like him. So sorry for that.
Thank you for sticking with me. I'm done moping now.
Hope you like it! DF
It's morning again.
How strange that phrase is to me. Logically, it seems an insignificant—even trivial—statement. Of course it is morning. How can one—especially a hardened scientist such as myself—find themselves shocked at such a simple fact?
The answer is that they shouldn't.
So why is it that every morning, when I open my eyes to see light streaming in I find myself wondering how that could possibly be? How could the world start afresh every day? How is it that the world still turns on its axis and all of the tiny little creatures on it continue to crawl around and go about their tiny little lives without knowing that the world truly has ended?
Maybe the world truly has ended and we have all ceased to exist but our minds make us believe that life still goes on and we are all really trapped in the last thoughts that our mind had before everything imploded around us. Maybe...
Then again, if my brain was in charge of every aspect of my world, he would still be here because, although it knows better, my brain aches for him as much as my heart. And—assuming that this theory was correct—although my brain would normally behave with the rational scenario, meaning that everything to the logical and rational course, I don't believe that it would want to suffer like this for all of eternity.
I wonder if that theory is any more rational or logical than the theory of God.
But no matter. It is morning and this Hell on Earth must again continue as it does each and every impossible morning.
I have a routine for mornings now. First, I think of a maximum of five minutes about different things, all about Life or Hell or Heaven or Death or some other deeply depressing train of thought. My doctors have a lot to say about these thoughts. I don't give a damn, though. What else do they think I'd contemplate? Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards Men? Then, I begin untangling myself from my sheets. This is often not hard, seeing as how I nearly always kick the sheet off of the bed. Next, I move to the edge of the bed and sit up straight, trying to clear my head and prepare myself for the next couple of steps. I don't need to get very far but these are some of the hardest.
After bringing myself to lucidity, I stand up and walk out of my—our—room and into the hallway. Slowly, I drag myself to the door on the opposite end and I quietly open the door just a crack. Then I spend a good few minutes watching our daughter sleeping.
That is the most painful part, really. She looks so much like her father, especially when she is asleep. Her hair is the same shade as his and the way that she presses her face into the pillow as an array of emotions flicker across her face is just like how he used to be. I could always tell when his dreams were good, bad, scary, confusing or blissful and the same goes for her. Today, like most mornings recently, her dreams are sad. Her little seven-year-old thumb is in her mouth—something that she frowns upon when she is awake. Her body is curled up in a ball with her back pressed tightly against the wall and the blankets are pulled tightly around her. The bear that he bought her for her second birthday is tucked under one arm and is pressed tightly to her chest in a protective embrace.
Once, when I was talking to Dr. Sweets and then Dr. Wyatt about these mornings a couple weeks after we fell into our routine and the world began to spin again—however slowly and painfully—I was told by both that the bear, the thumb, and the way that she curled herself up when she was alone and the way that she molded herself around me when we were together signified an acute need for comfort. For some reason, I've latched onto this trivial piece of soft science and, since then, have tried to give her that comfort. When we go shopping, she reaches for my hand with that little one, blindly seeking to be connected to her mother. Once, I would have touched our palms together for only a moment before pulling away. Neither of us had ever been very touchy-feely. But now I seek her out as readily as she seeks me. More often than not, we can be seen walking hand-in-hand almost anywhere we go.
Now, as she sleeps and slowly sucks her thumb, her hands clench and unclench. Those beautiful hands that have for so long have reminded me of her father's. Those hands that would spread out in the air, reaching forward until they were met palm-to-palm with the larger, yet structurally similar ones of her father.
Every day, now, I take a moment just to stare at her hands and remember the larger, more callused and nimble hands. I remember the rough feel of them against my face as he comforted me when I cried over my pregnancy. I remember the warmth that supported me when I finally decided to keep the baby; to allow him into my life completely so that we were inescapably intertwined. I remember the tenderness that emanated from his hands when he held our baby girl to his chest. I remember the strength that used to hold us all together. And I remember his touch more than ever as I wipe my own tears away with my cold, incapable fingers.
When I am done watching our baby girl sleep, I slowly tiptoe into her room and move onto the bed so I can wrap my body around her. As soon as my body touches her, she releases the bear and lets her thumb leave her mouth. She wakes for a moment; long enough to entwine her arms around my neck and pull herself safely to my breast. She kisses me on the chin and falls quickly back to sleep. Some mornings, I follow her. On other mornings, I stay awake and continue to inspect her or our surroundings.
Her room is a lovely blue color with a lush purple carpet. The bed is dark mahogany and the blankets are pink and red. There is a bookshelf already covered with books that range from 'When You Give a Mouse a Cookie' to 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' to 'The Complete Collection of Edgar Allen Poe' to 'The Iliad and the Odyssey.' I love that my seven year old girl has such advanced interests. It always made her father proud that his daughter knew the stories of Poe and Homer but was still able to keep her child-like love of the classics. She also had a tattered copy of Shakespeare's complete works. This book, one that had belonged to her father, sat on the bedside table. A year ago, she'd gone through a phase where she wanted to know everything about Shakespeare's works. We'd gone to a dinner theater that had performed Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' followed by 'Much Ado about Nothing.' She'd clapped her hands with joy when the characters were happy and tugged on our arms during the distressful moments. That night shines so brightly in my mind it feels like last week. The book does more than bring back happy memories for me, though. When her father died, she'd put the book away and had refused to read it again until he returned to read it to her at bedtime like he'd always done. But a few days ago, I'd walked into her room to find her struggling to make sense of the words her father had made so smooth and magical. Now, I read it to her every night instead of him.
At seven, her little alarm goes off, waking me from my respite and her from her sleep. In response, we both extricate ourselves from the bed and each other's arms while making quiet "good mornings." She may be seven years old but I know without a doubt that her mornings are almost as hard for her as they are for me. They are getting better for the both of us but she still tends to show the quiet sadness that lingers behind the comfort of the still-spinning world around us. When we are awake enough, we pad our way into the kitchen and get ready for our respective days. I always pull her into a tight hug just as we leave for work and for school and take a moment to inspect her face, searching for more images of him. Asleep, she is his mirror image but awake, she is my own. We share a knowing, sad smile, kiss and embrace, and set out to brave the day.
This is all the routine of a normal day; a day that is neither exceptionally happy or exceptionally sad. Sometimes, though, one of us will have a nightmare. Sometimes she will wake up sweating and crying and, hearing her cries almost instantly, I will wake up and run to her room to cradle her against my chest to remind her that everything is alright. Sometimes it is the other way around and she rushes into my room to comfort me. We take care of each other. We protect each other from the pain that is around us every day. Every day that I wake up next to an empty pillow and a cold blanket, I know that I just have to walk across the hall and find our daughter; our Evelyn. We watch each other's backs.
Just like he and I used to do.
The rest of my day goes about as normally as I can endure. My job is the same and everyone else is still working with me. They are all understanding…sickeningly so. There is never a moment in which I do not feel coddled or pitied. It makes me want to rip someone's hair out. But I dare not. And, worst of all, he's been replaced by someone new. This guy isn't too bad, although his obvious feelings for me are too blatant and he is too eager to please. He doesn't pity me, though. He knows what happened and he feels sorry for me but he treats me no different. He doesn't sugarcoat anything. I like him.
When I get home after a long day and wait for Evelyn to come through the door and back into my arms, my defenses are down. This is the time of day when I cry the most. There have been many occasions when she walked in to find me with my legs pulled up to my chest as I rock back and forth on the floor, muttering his name. Somehow, she understands. She wraps her little arms around my shaking shoulders and tells me stories of her father and how he comes to her in a field of flowers. He's watching us, she whispers into my ear as she strokes my hair. He says that I am so strong and I fight so hard. He understands, Evelyn tells me, that I fight as hard as I can.
How the hell did I end up with such an intelligent daughter? The genes have obviously done a much better job that I had ever expected. She is the perfect combination of the two of us and, sadly, she already has the attributes of an adult. I have a wonderful daughter but she…she has such a negligent mother. There are times that I hate myself for that. Times that I wish that I could be so much more for her.
Anyway, the nights are often easier. Together, Evelyn and I cook and eat dinner, tidy up the house, work on homework and case work, read a book together, and sometimes turn on the television. This part obviously varies from night to night but is always kept warm and comfortable by our amiable talk. Then we go to bed. We start most nights together in her bed. Generally, she falls asleep telling me stories of the fields of flowers with beautiful butterflies where her daddy is. She tells me some of the old jokes that he used to tell and sings some of the old songs he used to sing. Her favorite is 'Hot Blooded,' a song that always makes me sob into her little but strong and capable arms.
Then I fall asleep.
This is the best part of my day.
He is always waiting for me in my dreamland. He is, without fail, standing there waiting for me. It doesn't matter how the rest of the dream pans out—sometimes it is a memory-dream in which he caresses my skin and makes me hot all over just like he used to do and sometimes…sometimes it is another kind of memory; one that I don't want to remember. Or it is just a product of random neurons firing in my brain creating a scenario that never happened. No matter what the dream actually is, however, he is always there in some way, shape or form.
Tonight I dream of him exclusively.
I open my dream eyes to find myself in the field of flowers that Evelyn always speaks about. The ground is absolutely covered in lush, green grass that comes up to my knees and flowers of all possible shapes, sizes and colors. The air smells of the most expensive perfume as the scent of all the flowers are picked up by the cool breeze and carried right up my nostrils to my olfactory bulbs. There is a tree in the middle of the field, tall and imposing. Its branches spread out with beautiful leaves and small pink-white flowers. The branches drape gracefully towards the ground until the last leaves on the branches almost brush the grass below. The tree itself reminds me of a weeping willow mixed with one of the lovely trees from Japan that I'd always admired. And, sitting down on the grass at the base of the tree looking just like he did the last time I saw him, is Booth. He is smiling up at me from his place in the grass and he holds up a beautiful iris, my favorite flower.
My eyes widen and a smile stretches across my face. Quickly, I run through the tall grass towards him. The dream allows me to reach him in no time at all and soon I am standing over him, grinning like a fool.
"Hey," he says tenderly to me and I reach out for the flower. As my fingers touch the stem, he takes the opportunity to open his palm and grab my hand, trapping the flower between us. He pulls down gently and I land in the grass next to him and a cluster of multi-colored butterflies spring up around us.
His free hand moves to the nape of my neck and his fingers burrow into my hair. He pulls my face close and takes a long, deep breath, seemingly welcoming my scent as he would welcome a dear friend that he had been parted from for years. Then he pulls away and kisses my cheek.
"How is our baby girl doing?" he asks softly, still not moving his face from mine.
"She's amazing," I whisper. Never before have we had a conversation about Evelyn in my dreams. "She takes care of me. You should see her: she's more mature than any other girl I have ever seen at her age."
He pulls away just a few inches so I can see his smile. "She always was."
"But she has grown more so," I say softly and a small, nagging guilt inches its way towards the surface. "I feel like I've stolen her childhood away from her. It's like she takes care of me and not the other way around like it should be."
"She doesn't see it that way," he assures me and I look at him as if he were crazy. His lips twitch in amusement. "I talk to her, too."
Again, I look at him as if he were crazy and this time he chuckles. "Seven-year-olds are much more receptive to…to people like me than adults are. It takes much more energy to talk to you like this although it isn't impossible." He tucks hair behind my ear and his smile is sad now. "You've both needed me so much but she needed to know first that her daddy hadn't left her. You…you needed a diversion at first. I allowed you to dream of me, though I rarely mediated what happened in the dream. If you think about it, you can guess which dreams were from me." This time he gives me his sly smile. I smile back and guess.
Then I move back to the subject of our daughter. Maybe it was the fact that I knew I was asleep or maybe it was because of the realness of the heat emanating from his hand that still touched my skin but I didn't doubt his words even for a second. "Is she going to be alright?"
"Yes," he says softly and nods. "She is, as you said, amazingly mature. She's changed a lot in these past couple months…as have you." I nod, knowing what he's talking about. "But she does fear for you sometimes. Do you remember when you wouldn't eat?"
I cringe back as I remember that first week. I neither ate nor slept nor spoke to anyone but phantoms. One day, I passed out on my stomach and was rushed to the hospital. I'd almost lost the baby that night and, when I regained consciousness and the situation was explained to both me and Evelyn, she put her hands on my cheeks and made me look at her.
"You have to eat, Mommy," she'd said sternly. "You have to eat. The Doctor said that if you didn't then you could hurt Baby Brother. Daddy wouldn't want you to do that."
I'd known instantly that she was right and I fell into her little arms sobbing my eyes out, apologizing for everything. When I got home, the Routine began and we haven't had any mishaps since.
"She fell asleep in the room while she waited for you to wake up," he continues. "That was the first time I talked to her like this. I told her what to say and what you needed." He shook his head and inhaled deeply. "Maybe she has grown more adult than she should be but it hasn't just helped her mommy. It's helped you both. She no longer looks at my Death through the eyes of a child. She doesn't disillusion herself with story book explanations made for children—though I am pleased to say she still believes in the Tooth Fairy, although she has never believed in Santa."
I grin at the memory of her fifth Christmas when she sat the two of us down and said, in very serious tones, that there was no possible way that Santa could exist because he would never be able to go around to every home on the planet in one night, even allowing for different time zones, and that she thought she'd held off long enough in telling us.
"The point is, this has all been much easier for her. She has both the scientific understanding of what happened and the faith to believe that there is something after Life."
"Yeah," I nod. "She brings me to Church every Sunday, although she reminds me always that I never have to come inside." My smile slips away. "Is it ironic that she's been able to get me into Church so easily when you tried for years?"
"No. Children are amazing. They can always touch a person in ways no adult can."
"You're right I guess. It's just…going to Church has actually affected me. I never…I mean, if someone had told me three months ago that I would actually be peeking at the Bible I would have laughed in their face. But, although I do not believe many of the rules and stories, I think there is…logic behind it." I frown now. "I've come to hate Logic, you know? Ever since you…ever since you left me I've come to despise it."
He nods but pulls back all the way now so that he can cover our hands with his other one. "But do not leave Logic completely behind. Logic is You. Leaving Logic would be like me leaving Faith."
"I know, I know, but so much has changed. I'm not the same person that I was. I had already changed in our seven years of marriage but now I have become someone completely unrecognizable, at least to myself."
He sighs and leans his head forward so that our foreheads are against each other. "You are still the same," he assures me. "You are just having a hard time coping. Give it a while. Try to bring your daily routine back to normal, little by little. But don't try to change who you are now. Because that is what it is now: You. Not some stranger who has happened to take over your body in your own absence." He gently brushes my nose with his in an Eskimo kiss. "Don't change but don't forget, okay? And just remember. I still love—"
I gasp in fright as I lurch up to a sitting position in my bed. Quickly, I slide off of the sheets as my daughter's screams continue.
I dash across my room, thrust open my door, and crash into Evelyn's room.
She is lying on the floor in the corner with her arms wrapped around her legs and her face pressed into her knees. I scramble over to her small body and drag her to me as I try to comfort her. "Sshhhh, baby!" I croon. "Shh. Mommy's here. I've got you. I've got you, Evelyn. It's all right."
"B-But D-Daddy!" she sobs into my arms and I feel my heart breaking. I know what it is that she dreamed about. I know without a doubt in my mind and it tears me apart.
"Evelyn," I whisper in her hair. "Evelyn, Sweetie, Daddy's fine. He's just not with us right now, remember?"
"B-but the-the-the bad man!" she sobs. At least she isn't screaming anymore and for that I am thankful. "Th-the bad man killed Daddy! And then he came back and killed you."
This is a new twist to the dream and I pause for a moment before continuing my gentle rocking. "The bad man is dead, Honey. Mommy made sure that he would never come back for you, me or the baby." I press a kiss on her forehead and sigh heavily. "Besides," I continue, "do you really think that Daddy would let anything bad happen to us?"
She shakes her little head and I nod. "That's right, baby. He's doing just like Jesus does in the stories—"
"They're not stories!"
"Okay. Sorry. Daddy's watching over us just like Jesus. Together, they would be able to stop anything from hurting us. Do you believe that?"
She pauses before nodding slowly. "Yeah."
I smile and hold her away from me so that I can look down at her. "You know what?" I ask softly. She shakes her head. "I had a dream about Daddy tonight." Her little eyes go round. I rarely speak of my dreams of him. "He was in a field of flowers, just like you told me, and we sat together and you know what we talked about?" Again, she shakes her head. "We talked about you. He told me how good you were while you took care of me. He loves us still, Sweet Heart." I move her small hand to rest on my bulging, nine-month-old belly. "Do you want me to sleep with you tonight?"
She nods, now staring at my stomach as her small fingers caress the skin through my thin nightshirt. Then she looks up at me with puffy eyes and wet cheeks and an angelic smile. "I asked Daddy to visit you," she whispers conspiratorially. "He tells me that he wants to hold you at night and that I should try to hold you and the baby as much as I can to…conpensat?"
I smile as she fumbles the word and nod. "Compensate. And I think you're doing a fine job, Evelyn. A wonderful job." Then I pull her tight against me and hold her for a long time, rocking us both back into comfort.
That was the night that I went into labor. I think—no, I know—that I scared poor Evelyn to Death and back again when I made my first sound of pain. Lucky for me, I have a smart little girl and she instantly rushed to the phone and dialed the correct numbers: Auntie and Uncle first then Grampa and, finally, her half-brother. Then she ran around grabbing everything that I'd told her we'd need. By the time her Aunt got to our apartment, black hair not brushed and sexy pajamas showing under her long coat, Evelyn had us both ready to go.
Seeley was born ten excruciating hours later as a seven pound, eight ounce baby with my eyes and his father's nose. When the nurse handed him back to me, I cradled him in my arms and Evelyn crawled onto the bed, resting her head next to my own on the pillow and reaching for her new baby brother. His tiny hand grasped hers tightly and she giggled.
"He's so pretty, Mom."
I smiled and kissed the top of her head. "Yes, he is, Evelyn."
"I think Daddy would like him," she said solemnly.
"You're right. Your Daddy would like him very much."
Evelyn sniffled and as I lifted my head to look, I saw a small tear creep down her cheek and past her trembling lips. She looked at me with her beautiful eyes and gulped. "I miss Daddy, Mom. I wish he was here. He'd want to touch Seeley."
I nodded and my smile slipped away until it was almost gone. "But you know that we'll be ok, right?"
She returned my nod vigorously and leaned forward to press her lips against her baby brother's fingers that were still clasped around her own. "We'll be ok," she agreed. "And Daddy will watch down at us and make sure we're happy. I love you, Mommy."
It was my turn to cry then. The tears began to fall as I looked at the baby in my arms and the beautiful girl that was now kneeling on the bed beside me. How I craved to see his warm smile and feel his gentle hands stroking my face the way he used to. But Evelyn was right. We would be ok and, although we had made only baby steps to being normal again, we were still making progress.
"I know," I whispered through my tears. "I love you, too." Then I moved one arm away from the baby and wrapped it around my daughter, pulling her tight against me. We fell asleep like that, moving only enough so I could open my shirt for Seeley to feed and then again when he fell asleep and the nurse came to take him away for our guests—Angela, Hodgins, Camille, Zack, Dr. Goodman, Sully, Rebecca and Parker—to pass around. We stayed safe in my hospital bed, though, exhausted and content.
She was right. We would be alright. And, one day, maybe, we would see Booth again.
Until that day, though, I still have my dreams of a field of flowers...
And two beautiful children that any mother or father would be proud of.
Click the little button on the bottom left of your screen. (Not START but the blue-gray one! There you go. See it now?) Reviews keep me going and keep me motivated.
(Author's Note part 3): Please note the cameo of two of my favorite characters that disappeared from the show: Dr. Wyatt and Dr. Goodman. Where did they go, FOX? And yes, I know that Sully's appearance is undesirable but I just know he's going to show back up on Bones sooner or later. Ugh.
Peace out, readers.